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Fake Tor Browser Warning

It seems that there is at least one fake distribution of the Tor Project’s Browser Bundle. I’m astounded that one dubious distribution, at http://sourceforge.net/projects/torbrowser, has been downloaded in excess of 300 times this week. Screenshots below illustrate that the counterfeit distribution blatantly rips off content from the Tor Project.

Despite at least two complaints to Sourceforge, from the Tor Project, the fake browser hasn’t been taken offline. According to Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the Tor project, in a post on the tor-talk mailinglist, lawyers have been engaged by the Tor Project to complain to Sourceforge.

The real Tor home page.

The fake Tor Browser page hosted at Sourgeforge

Got a comment? Join the discussion at Reddit.

Earlier tonight, I was trawling the excellent LeakDirectory, which lists various leak and whistleblower sites on the internet.  I decided to take a look at how the Australian Federal Police 'whistleblower' report a crime site looked, only to be presented with the dialog "When submitting forms to the AFP, please use either Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla FireFox browsers'".

It's mind boggling how such a critical site – perhaps even critical to life, is so poorly built; looking at the page code, nothing browser specific stands out. Have crimes not been reported because the reporter didn't have the compatible browser? If so, that would be a travesty.

When you finally get the correct page, you're informed that "An error has been identified that prevents some forms from being submitted. Please remove single quotes or apostrophes (For example O'connell, police officer's, etc.) and ampersands (&).". It seems that overzealous code injection mitigation breaks crime reports – it shouldn't be this hard!

Mirror of “WikiLeaks spying bill” transcript of senator Scott Ludlam’s speech

The Labor party has rushed through legislation tonight allowing ASIO significantly more power to spy on the citizens of Australia. This new legislation will be used against Wikileaks and its supporters in the name of "national security", it also increases the chance that ASIO's powers will be abused. A summary of the effects of the new legisation can be found at Crikey.

I've mirrored Greens senator Scott Ludlam's disenting speech at http://blog.metaverse.org/intelligenceservices.htm as the Greens website doesn't seem to have coped with the load of being linked from a Wikileaks tweet.

Wikileaks Australian Postbox is NOT closing

Rumors are still circulating that Wikileaks Australian post box is being closed, I don't believe that it's true.

Certain reports have had conspiratorial overtones, such as "PSSST. Want to share a secret? Here is the place to send it. But be quick. This postbox to contact WikiLeaks in Australia is about to shut down.Australia Post insists its sudden decision to close the University of Melbourne Post Office has nothing to do with the fact that Box 4080 is the Australian postal address for submissions to the whistleblower website. But an announcement last Friday said the branch would close on December 17. Coincidence? Or has the ever-closing security net around WikiLeaks been tightened a notch further?"[1]. In addition to losing credence by trying to play the conspiracy card, there's no attribution or detail to the "announcement" mentioned in the report – lacking complete substance.

The current Wikileaks.ch mirror is still advertising the Australian post box [2]. Surely if the box was being closed down, they wouldn't still be advertising it?

The University of Melbourne, announced in early December, in its staff news, that the boxes would remain, until at least December 2011 – "Australia Post has agreed to maintain its branch at the University’s Parkville campus until at least December 2011. This decision has been due to the collective efforts of unions, the University management, staff and students. The Post Office boxes, which were going to be relocated to the Union building, will now remain where they are. The University will continue to work with Australia Post to identify possible alternative locations on campus for the Post Office from 2012, once redevelopment of the Architecture, Building and Planning building begins." [3]

I do hope this clears up the rumour.

Sources:

[1] Hiccup to Wiki snail mail amid all the fuss. Sydney Morning Herald, December 7, 2010.

[2] Wikileaks support page.

[3] University of Melbourne Staff News, #347

Navy warns of Wikileaks releases

This PDF appeared on Cryptome, dated August 2010, to word-up US Navy civilian, military and contractor personel, presumably about impending wikileaks leaked documents. Has been converted to HTML from the PDF for usability.

Full release below –

UNCLASSIFIED//

ROUTINE

R 192014Z AUG 10

BT

UNCLAS

FM SECNAV WASHINGTON DC

TO ALNAV

BT

UNCLAS

ALNAV 055/10

COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-2/CG-6//

COGARD CYBERCOM WASHINGTON DC

COMCOGARD CRYPTO GROUP FT MEADE MD

MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/AUG//

SUBJ/SAFEGUARDING CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION//

REF/A DOC/DON/30JUN2006//

REF/B DOC/WHITE HOUSE/29DEC2009//

NARR/ REF A IS SECNAV M-5510.36, DON INFORMATION SECURITY 

PROGRAM.

REF B IS EXECUTIVE ORDER 13526, CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY 

INFORMATION.

POC/BRIDGET OUELLETTE/CIV/CNO N09N2/LOC: WASHINGTON DC/TEL: 202-

433-

8842/EMAIL: BRIDGET A. OUELLETTE(AT)NAVY.MIL// POC/DAN

DELGROSSO/CIV/DONCIO/LOC: WASHINGTON DC/TEL: 703-607-5652/EMAIL: 

DAN.DELGROSSO(AT)NAVY.MIL//

RMKS/1.  RECENT EVENTS INVOLVING THE POSTING OF WHAT APPEARS TO 

BE SENSITIVE AND POTENTIALLY CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY 

INFORMATION

(NSI) TO A PUBLIC WEBSITE HAS HIGHLIGHTED THE NEED TO:

    A.  REINFORCE HOW PERSONNEL STORE AND DISTRIBUTE NSI.

B.  REMIND PERSONNEL OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO SAFEGUARD NSI 

COMMENSURATE WITH THE LEVEL OF CLASSIFICATION ASSIGNED PER 

REF A, UNTIL THE INFORMATION IS DECLASSIFIED BY THE APPROPRIATE 

ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION AUTHORITY (OCA).2.  DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY (DON) PERSONNEL MUST ENSURE 

CLASSIFIED NSI IS ONLY SHARED WITH THOSE WITH AN AUTHORIZED 

CLEARANCE, ACCESS, NEED TO KNOW, AND ONLY VIA AUTHORIZED 

CHANNELS AND SYSTEMS.  ACTIVITIES TO THE CONTRARY HAVE THE 

POTENTIAL OF PLACING OUR FELLOW SAILORS, MARINES AND CIVILIANS 

AT RISK, AND WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.  PERSONNEL WHO 

INTENTIONALLY PROPAGATE OR MISHANDLE CLASSIFIED NSI IN 

VIOLATION OF EXISTING REGULATIONS MAY BE SUBJECT TO 

ADMINISTRATIVE OR PUNITIVE ACTION.

3.  THIS MESSAGE APPLIES TO ALL DON MILITARY, CIVILIAN, AND 

CONTRACTOR SUPPORT PERSONNEL.

4.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THE APPEARANCE OF POTENTIALLY 

CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, REGARDLESS OF 

MEDIUM OR PLATFORM, DOES NOT INDICATE THIS INFORMATION HAS 

BEEN REVIEWED BY THE RESPECTIVE ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION 

AUTHORITY, DECLASSIFIED, AND CLEARED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE.  AS 

STATED IN REF B, SECTION 1.1(4)(C), (QUOTE) CLASSIFIED INFORMATION 

SHALL NOT BE DECLASSIFIED AUTOMATICALLY AS A RESULT OF ANY 

UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF IDENTICAL OR SIMILAR INFORMATION 

(END QUOTE).  THEREFORE, DON PERSONNEL SHALL:

    A.  NOT CONFIRM OR DENY THE EXISTENCE OF POTENTIALLY 

CLASSIFIED NSI IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, AND REPORT THE INCIDENT PER 

REF A, CHAPTER 12.

B.  NOT CONTRIBUTE TO THE FURTHER DISSEMINATION OF 

POTENTIALLY CLASSIFIED NSI ON DON UNCLASSIFIED IT SYSTEMS BY 

ACCESSING WEBSITES OR ANY OTHER INTERNET BASED CAPABILITY (IBC) 

(E.G., TWITTER, FACEBOOK, ETC.) TO VIEW, COPY, OR FORWARD THIS 

INFORMATION. 

C.  ENSURE CLASSIFIED NSI IS ONLY SHARED WITH PERSONNEL WITH AN 

AUTHORIZED CLEARANCE, ACCESS, NEED TO KNOW, AND ONLY VIA 

AUTHORIZED CHANNELS AND SYSTEMS.

D.  PROTECT CLASSIFIED NSI COMMENSURATE WITH THE LEVEL OF 

CLASSIFICATION ASSIGNED PER REF A, UNTIL THE INFORMATION IS 

DECLASSIFIED BY THE APPROPRIATE OCA.

E.  ADHERE TO THE SERVICES SYSTEMS AUTHORIZATION ACCESS 

REQUEST FORM (SAAR; I.E. USER AGREEMENT FORM) FOR THE 

PROTECTION OF INFORMATION RESIDING ON DON NETWORKS.

F.  ADHERE TO THEIR NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT (SF-312) WHEN 

GRANTED A SECURITY CLEARANCE.

5.  THE INFORMATION AGE REQUIRES WE VALIDATE AND REDEFINE AS 

APPROPRIATE OUR PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING UNAUTHORIZED 

DISCLOSURE OF POTENTIALLY CLASSIFIED NSI ON THE INTERNET IN THE 

EVENT IT MIGRATES TO THE DON UNCLASSIFIED NETWORK DOMAIN.  

Heres to you, Julian Assange

(sung to Simon & Gufunkels Mrs. Robinson) – Courtesy of The Mad Anatomist

And here's to you, Ju-li-an Assange

Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)

God bless you please, Ju-li-an Assange

Heaven holds a place for those who pray

(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

 

We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files

We'd like to help you learn to help yourself

Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes

Stroll around the cell until you feel at home

 

And here's to you, Ju-li-an Assange

Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)

God bless you please, Ju-li-an Assange

Heaven holds a place for those who pray

(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

 

Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes

Store it in your bunker with your cupcakes

It's a little secret, just the Cablegate affair

Most of all, you've got to hide it from the feds

 

Coo, coo, ca-choo, Geoffrey Robertson

Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)

God bless you please, Geoffrey Robertson

Heaven holds a place for those who pray

(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

 

Sitting on a cell-bed on a Sunday afternoon

Asking the Old Bailley for a break

Laugh about it, tweet about it

When you've got to choose

Ev'ry way you look at it, you lose

 

Where have you gone, Ju-li-an Assange

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)

What's that you say, Mr Robertson

Joltin' Jules has left and gone away

(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

The loss of the Xserve will cost

Apple have recently announced that they’re discontinuing their enterprise flagship, the Xserve, which I’m pretty disappointed with. For serious users of the Xserve, this could be such an expensive decision, they may need to leave the OS X platform for good just due to the costs associated with the extra size of the Apple suggested replacement, the Mac Pro.

If we look at co-location prices in Melbourne by Micron2, each RU costs $100 per month. If we’ve needed to install a Mac Pro,  since the XServe no longer exists, we’re now paying an additional $1100 per month, or over the 3 year life of the server, it costs us another $39,600 due to the additional rack rental after switching from the Xserve to Mac Pro. You may think that this is an extreme out of the ordinary scenario – however, if you’re using any fibre-channel storage, the Mac Pro will be your only option.

As a follow-up, it’s been reported that Steve Jobs responded that nobody bought the Xserve - I find that hard to believe, it’s all relative, nobody buys the Mac Pro in comparison to the iPhone too. We have 3 Xserves in production, and one as a cold spare at work. Will the Mac Pro be the next system to be discontinued (I’m not sure that we’ve ever purchased a Mac Pro!).

A brush with fame

I had a brief brush with fame today – running into James Hetfield from Metallica, at the Melbourne Park Hyatt. Hetfield's bodyguard diplomatically told me that Hetfield didn't drink alcohol, as I just happened to be walking by with a bottle of wine I was just given; I never knew that Hetfield was a former alcoholic.

A night in the audience at Q and A

I had the privilege of being in last nights audience for the ABC's Q and A in Melbourne. I had my wife register for tickets many moons ago – so many that there had been two shows in Melbourne since we registered – it was only the third show that we actually were in the audience. 

A few days before the show we had a few emails about the topics that would be covered; there was also a reminder SMS sent to our mobile phones on the day of the big event reminding us to give them a call if we were going to pull out at the last minute. The emails also encouraged audience members to email the producers with Dorothy Dixer questions to ask during the show. I considered sending in a question, but I chickened out. I felt that if I did ask a question, I would choke and splutter and Tony Jones would cut me off with his blunt "I'll take that as a comment". I wouldn't be able to hold my head up at work ever again – enough people walked into my office today asking if it was me on the show.

There were two things that the audience had repeated at them at least three times before the show started. 

The first thing we were reminded about was that the show was there because of its audience, and the audience participation. We were told that Q and A wouldn't exist without the audience, something that I felt the production team were sincere about. Audience participation was key to the show and that the producers foster, and encourage as much audience participation as practical.

The second thing that the audience was reminded about was that the producers are extremely concerned about libel, slander and defamation. Tony Jones would be a sole arbiter to prevent any hint of anyone being defamed. Tony was the shows expert on libel and slander. The audience was told that Tony could pull a discussion or question without notice if it neared anything defamatory. Now knowing what I do now about the producers strong aversion to libel and defamation, I can think back of several times in past episodes that Tony would quickly snuff out a question from an audience member which could have potentially been libellous or slanderous.

Next came the warm up guy, Tommy Dean. Either Tommy's jokes weren't that funny, or he was in for a hard audience that night – I'm going for the former. 

After we had Tommy, the promo between Media Watch and the news break was aired live. On the topic of the promo, I feel like I'm giving away a magicians trick here – the promo between Media Watch and the news break, with the panel having makeup and hair done, is completely staged. Makeup people, hair stylists, grips rush to the panel just before the ad is aired – and then rush off once it's done.

After the promo, was the next step of identifying where all audience members were in the studio. Tony Jones would write the name, location (row) and a short description (brown hair, orange t-shirt) of each questioner on the crib sheet in front of him.

The show then went live to viewers TV's. At the end of the show, I thought there might be a quick Q and A between the audience and panel; there wasn't. The makeshift studio was empty in a few short minutes.

Things the home audience didn't see:

  • Jessica Rudd wore glittering ruby shoes.
  • Tony Jones was limping around stage due to falling down stairs earlier in the day – he couldn't do the audience warm up.
  • As with live TV, things go wrong. There were several problems with the audio before and during the show. Tommy, the warm up guy, could only use his mic for 1/2 of his warm up before it gave up.

A tip:

If you're lucky enough to be in the Q and A audience, please TURN UP EARLY! In Melbourne, there were several ticket colours. I believe that the production team had more audience members chosen than seats – those who checked in latest received a 'red' ticket, which gave them tickets in the side lines, or at the back of the studio where the only view of the panel was from a flat screen TV.

A Letter to Tony Abbott

My wife, Carley, has decided to attempt to help out the Electronic Frontiers Australia's "Open Internet" campaign by Lobbying a Lib, in this case, Tony Abbott, (currently) leader of the Australian opposition, as well as Petro Geogiou, our federal member . A snail mail letter is on the way to their mailbox; we thought it would make more impact. As usual, if and when there is a response, I'll post it to this blog.

Dear Mr. Abbott

As an Australian, an internet user and most importantly a mother I implore you to take a closer look at the mandatory internet filter Senator Conroy and the ALP are proposing. I am sure you have heard from many of my tech savvy peers on why the internet filter will be ineffective, how easily it can be circumvented, on how it will infringe upon our civil liberties and about how it will slow down the internet for the average user. I will not take up more of your time arguing these points, suffice to say I know each of these assertions to be true and am willing to provide support and evidence for them when called upon. I know you are a busy man with an election on the horizon but I ask you – given the time I am taking away from my children to write to you – to consider the following.

One of the most fundamentally important skills I feel I can pass on to my children is the power to think critically. I have spent and continue to spend much time dedicated to ensuring that this is reflected in their education and becomes a part of their everyday life. Critical thought, originality and independence of thought – the right to agree to disagree – will be a skill that can help during many of life struggles. I have also taught my children to embrace new ideas, to take the time to process them, look at the possible gains and losses and act only when they feel they have a sufficient understand and have done sufficient research to be able to back their ideas. I have let them make mistake by which they can learn and encouraged introspection and analysis of the consequences to help them consider alternate courses of action for the future. I do all these and many more things to ensure that my children grow up with a good understanding of right and wrong, knowing that all actions have consequences and so that they mature into law abiding, moral adults. After all one of the major differences between children and adults is an adults understanding and foresight based largely on information learned from experience and critically analysed. I believe that the proposed internet filter is counter productive to many of these goals I have as a parent and it continues to cause me very real concern.

My 8-year-old daughter, Emily, was recently using the Internet at school for a class project, she was instructed to do a Google image search to find a picture of an animal. Emily and her project partner chose to search for a seal – this was done behind the supposed safety of a net filter with a safe search – what they found was multiple pictures of baby seals that had been clubbed to death and were cover in blood. I use this story to illustrate two points. The first being that no matter what net filter you put in place you can never fully protect children from graphic imagery and information beyond their understanding on the internet, you need rather to educate not only the children, but the educators as to the potential for such unfortunate finds. My second point is the way our family dealt with this situation, we used it as a tool to help Emily understand the dangers of the internet. We explained that once you see something you can never 'unsee' it and that this rule applies to knowledge you do not wish to have, once you know, you can't forget. Emily now understands at least one danger of the internet a little better.

The internet has become such an integral part of the way we seek and gather knowledge, it has afforded all who use it the opportunity to pursue information that can assist them at school, work and even in life decisions, it has put the collective wealth of world knowledge literally at out fingertips, it has become a part of life in much the same way motor vehicles did 100 years before it. However rather than insist we make motor vehicle transport slower and less accessible by insisting an authority ride along on each journey to ensure they were safely and correctly used, we chose to educate society on the dangers and safe use of cars as a tool. Society decided what age to introduce the children to the tool; they then had an adult accompany minors on their journeys to make sure they learned how to safely use the vehicle as a tool and to ensure they understood the dangers misuse could present. When it was felt children fully understood both the benefits and dangers as well as the practice of safe navigation they were allowed to use the tool alone. Rather than attempting to regulate the unprecedented flow of information and ideas the internet has to offer, we should seek to educate future generations how to safely wield this tool. Like with so many other problems our children face, rather than try to wrap them in cotton wool to protect them, it is time we realise the best protection we can offer our children is education and understanding.

As to the controversial information available on the internet, information on abortion, drug use, euthanasia and political or other violence, I ask how can people understand the choices before them without access to adequate information? It matters not if you support abortion or euthanasia, nor that we try to prevent our children from using illicit drugs, these are choices that each person will at some point be forced to make for themselves. I strongly believe that when those choices are forced upon my children they should have access to as much information as possible, so that they are able to adequately weight the pros and cons of a course of action before they make a decision they may regret. How many atrocities may not have been committed if the right information about possible consequences had been available at the time? When I told my mother once I could not bare to read on the horrors of the second world war, she reminded me that we must continue to carry the burden of this knowledge, for if we all choose to forget therein lies the danger for such horrific events to repeat themselves. All information, even about that which we find abhorrent, is useful when making an informed decision about future action.

You may notice that I have not touched upon child pornography in this letter. It goes without saying of course this sort of material has no place in the world in any medium. It is a farce however to imply that the proposed filter will in any way protect children from being subjected to such horror, the proposed filter will not prevent even one child from being abused. The only way this filter will even affect the child pornography industry is to help facilitate it further by diverting police funding away from arresting the perpetrators and by lulling the public into a false sense of security that something is being done to stop the monsters who perpetrate such acts. It is likewise worth noting that in my 16 years of using the internet whilst I have seen some horrific images of accident victims and the outcome of political violence and genocide abroad I have never once stumbled across an image of a child being abused and can say with almost absolute certainty that my children never will. This is because not only is this sort of material shared via peer to peer in the overwhelming majority of cases but on the web it is something that one would have to seek rather vigorously to find and is not simply stumbled across as Senator Conroy would have us all believe.

I thank you very much for taking the time to read this rather lengthy letter, I apologise for it's length I can only hope that it's length can help convey the passion I feel on this subject. I hope that this will help you to see the very real concerns many parents have about censoring this invaluable tool and the concern that our children will be at great disadvantage when compared with the rest of the world. If I can leave you with a final thought please let it be that rather than legislation, our focus should remain on education.

Yours Sincerely,